All in the DNA
Tumor sequencing study highlights benefits of profiling healthy tissue
Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D., professor and chair, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, reported an ongoing study's preliminary findings at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.
The MD Anderson research team sequenced tumor and normal DNA from patients with advanced cancer, with the goal of sharing results with patients to better educate them going forward. Sequencing normal tissue isn't routinely done in the research environment, but comparing tumor versus normal DNA can distinguish between germline, or inherited, mutations and those found only in the tumor.
"This is an opportunity to identify germline mutations that could have contributed to a patient's cancer development and may be a heritable cancer syndrome that would put the patient's family members at risk," says Meric-Bernstam, medical director of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. "It would be important to inform the patient and family members so they can get further testing, genetic counseling and risk-reducing efforts as needed."
This work was supported by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation,
the National Institutes of Health and the Borsarge Foundation.